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If you’re operating in any kind of customer-focused industry, the UX (user experience) you offer should be a fundamental pillar of your overall sales strategy. Why? Because whether you’re a startup looking to rapidly grow its customer profile or a global enterprise with designs on monopolizing your market, UX is critical to driving a dynamic, cost-effective customer engagement model.
As Apple-founder Steve Jobs said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” With this in mind, the aim of a UX designer is to consider the entire interaction a user has with a product or service (often a website or app) from beginning to end, encompassing every potential touch point from the first contact to the last. An effective user experience is one that ensures a frictionless user-to-product interaction, putting the needs of the user at the forefront of and prioritizing ease-of-use.
UX and customer engagement go hand-in-glove because an effective engagement strategy is built upon consistent, seamless interaction between a user and a brand through various (increasingly digital) channels. Engagement extends beyond a purely transactional relationship: in addition to meeting a customer’s in-the-moment needs, it must also foster a deeper understanding of their motivations, informing your UX development.
In this piece, we’ll look at just some of the key areas in which a powerful, highly adaptable UX design can aid online businesses in driving real engagement with their customers, ultimately leading to an increase in conversion, retention and — above all — revenue.
It helps to bring in relevant traffic
The primary aim of search engines like Google is to provide valuable and highly-relevant results for a user’s search query, and your UX is pivotal when it comes to advancing your SEO rankings. For one thing, a responsive UI design (you can check yours quite conveniently through Browserstack) is likely to increase the time users spend interacting with your pages, and thus place higher value on your content in the eyes of search engines.
In addition, the way your site is structured will not only aid usability but also help search engines gain a better understanding of your content and enable them to closely match it to relevant search terms — ultimately ensuring your website is more visible to search engines and searchers alike. The more traffic, the more engagement.
It starkly highlights sticking points
When you fixate on something like your UI navigation, you can miss core issues with the entirety of your sales funnel. There may be some other part of your system that’s underperforming without causing any glaring errors, leading it to fly under the radar. This also ties into an overreliance on automated analysis. Poring over reams of rich metrics was useful once, then the rise of full-range SaaS solutions made so much of it obvious.
Today, if you’re using a managed cloud hosting platform (something along the lines of Cloudways), you know perfectly well that performance won’t be an issue — but this level of confidence in outsourced processes can lead you into trouble. You need to know what it feels like to use a system, and that’s something that metrics can’t tell you. Only a full commitment to UX research will yield the insight you need to ensure smooth user progress.
It’s key to earning brand loyalty
It’s been said that it’s up to five times more expensive (and often more difficult) to recruit new customers than it is to retain existing ones. To that end, building customer loyalty is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your brand, and your UX is often the most significant factor in turning casual visitors into loyal, high-spending brand advocates.
An intuitive UX that caters to user needs through easy interactions and specifically-relevant solutions is likely to keep customers returning to your brand over and over. In contrast, if your UX is clunky, confusing and impossible to navigate, potential customers will almost certainly abandon your brand and seek out an alternative option.
It supports invaluable personalization
Personalization is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for businesses looking to build engagement and drive long-term revenue growth. In fact, 80% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that offers a tailored experience, so your UX strategy should always factor in the need for personalized experiences.
A highly advanced UX design is based upon a deeper knowledge of the anticipated needs and motivations of your target consumer. By mining real-time data from tools like Google Analytics (as well as conducting user testing and surveys) you can gain a more meaningful understanding of your customers’ shopping behavior, and deliver a user experience which is closely aligned with their aspirations.
It drives word-of-mouth referrals
With increased engagement comes the increased probability of your customers sharing their positive experiences with others, either through on-site reviews, ‘refer-a-friend’ schemes or simply through word-of-mouth. When referred by someone they know, shoppers are four times more likely to make a purchase, and a positive user experience is one guaranteed way to boost the likelihood of referrals.
When a customer leaves a review on your site or shares their experience with a friend, they will often take into account the entire interaction they had with your company (encompassing the checkout process, the speed of delivery and much more) so it’s important to remember that a smooth, pain-free user experience is just as important as a first-rate product.
In summary, it’s clear that an effective customer engagement strategy is built upon the foundations of a seamless, highly responsive UX. A UX designer’s role is crucial in creating valuable, relevant, SEO-friendly experiences which drive more traffic, maximize customer retention and escalate brand awareness.